Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I don't want to be rich....

for sale
Originally uploaded by netan
... or famous. I don't want to have a big house or a fancy car, or enough debt to drown in.

I want to feel secure in the knowledge that I can pay my modest bills, put food on the table, and set a little bit of money aside for saving. I want to be known in my little circle of friends as a fine person, and leave a legacy of doing good. I want a reliable, inexpensive car that is not so ugly that my kid's are embarrassed by it, and I want to leave my kids something that does not include debt.

Most of all, at the moment, I want a little house, that we can easily pay for, and call our own.

My husband and I are going to look at a house today, with an eye for possibly buying it. It is old, small, neglected, and cheap. I am hoping that we find it suitable to our needs, and structurally sound. I am hoping that I like it, and would like to live in it, and that soon we will again have a place of our own.

We shall see.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good Bye Blogger.

Dear friends in Blog land,

After much frustration with Blogger, I have decided to move on.  As of today I will be leaving this blog behind, never to post again.  My posts and I have found greener pastures on wordpress, and I hope you will follow me there.

I can now be found at

This new blog contains all of the posts that can be found here on blogger, as well as some new and (I believe) improved features that I think you will like.

I hope to see you there soon!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Spoils of Christmas

I realize that this post is a bit late, Christmas now being about 3 weeks past.  My excuse is that I had some misgivings about posting about those gifts I was given in the first place.  Given the current economy I didn't not want to flout the fact that my family has not been terribly affected.  
I was especially fortunate in the present department this year, especially since my expectations were low.  I asked for little this Christmas, and got more than I cound hope for.  It was wonderful.  I decided to share my good fortune at the risk of upsetting others.

These beautiful handmade sock blockers, one sized for my husband, one for myself were from the Gadaboutknitter.  Her husband cut and sanded these himself out of some beautiful ceader.  I can't wait to use them, but until then they can protect my statsh.
These wonderful crafty books were from my parents, my sister in law, and myself.  You will no doubt be seeing projects from them in the comming year.A good friend of my husband and I sent me this book from his new home town, Austin, Texas.  This book stemed out of the Rhizome Collective, a sustainable living group local to Austin.  Many of the ideas in the book go way beyond what I had even considered possible in the city.  I fully intend to implement many of the in the comming year.I finially got my very own i-pod.  I have never had an mp3 player before (For that matter, I don't remember ever having a portable CD player, althoughI did have a tape player in college to recored lectures).  My husband hd been letting me use his old i-pod shuffle - the small kind without a view screen.  It served me well, except that I like to listen to books, and it was difficult to find the right place in the story if it got out of order.  My husband responded with this cool new i-pod nano in pink (my favorite color), inscribed with a personalized message.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too!

Monday, January 19, 2009

We're Back

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I hope everyone reading this enjoyed social equality today.

Well the kids and I are back after spending the better part of the last week visiting my parents as my Dad's Christmas present.  When asked what my Dad wants as a present he always responds, "time."  This year we decided to take him at his word, and used the money we would have spent on a present traveling there and back.  

I have to admit that I was very tempted to give him thyme the herb as a bit of a joke, but I didn't think it would go over too well.

During the week there I got much needed rest allowing my mother to see to the needs of the children.  Since we don't get to see my parents as often as they would like, my mother often fusses about not taking care of the kids often enough.  I wanted to make sure that she got her fill while we were there, and I think we succeeded in leaving her in a state of happy exhaustion.

As a consequence of letting my mom watch the kids, I had a lot of time to work on my neglected Holly Jacket, and the knitting is nearly complete.  Hopefully you will see it soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Expanding the Garden

If you read my last post, you will know that one of my New Year's resolutions was to expand my garden, what you didn't know was that it had already begun.

Last year I planted a small garden bed that continues to provide my family with bell peppers.
  This year I plan on planting a much wider variety of vegetables, and enough tomatoes that a
 few can make it to our dinner table before my kid's devour them.  The first step was creating a raised garden bed that our dogs won't be able to run right through and trample our vegetables.

Here is what we did.  Keep in mind that we learned a few lessons along the way, and I point out what those lessons taught us below.

We created a 4' by 8' box, about 1' tall.  Mr. Incredible used 1" by 4" untreated pine (cull lumber).  He attached them with common sinker nails using overlap corners.
Next time we will use nails with a spiral or ring shank or wood screws because the sinker nails pulled out of the corners far too easily.

We then situated this box in a prepared bed (the soil had been turned to break up the heavy clay that lies just below the surface, and the soil had been leveled as much as possible).

We increased the height of the bed by installing 2" by 2" corner supports, and nailing the next level of pine boards to the supports.  He also installed 2" by 4" supports in the middle of the 8' spans to keep the wood from flexing or bowing under the pressure of the dirt.  In hindsight we probably should have made the entire structure before trying to stick it in the dirt.  Preassambly would have kept the joints from shifting and requireing clean up/trimming after assembly.  We may also use all 2" by 4" supports in the future.

He then trimmed off all the pieces of the supports that were above the top of the box using a sawsall.

He also ground off the ends of protruding screws to keeps hand from comming in contact with them while digging, as they could casue injury.

Then I layed landscape cloth in the bottom of the box, putting dirt in the corners to keep the cloth from blowing away.  The landscape cloth should help keep weeds at bay, slow water runnoff and erosion, and is deep enough that it shouldn't interfer with veggie growth.

After filling the rest of the box with dirt I layered on some compost (that was not quite as ready as I would have liked), then more dirt.  

Now I need to finish filling the box with more dirt, compost, and organic fertilizer.  Then all that is left is actually growing the plants.


New Years Resolutions

I know a lot of people dislike New Year's resolutions, because it seems as if they are rarely ever kept.  I, however, think that New Years resolutions are a great way to start something new, or to renew one's resolve to stay on the path they have been following.  

For me, the difference between a resolution that falls by the wayside, and one that is actually accomplished, is a plan of action.  It is great to say that you want to do "x," but saying it does nothing to accomplish the goal.  You have to know how you are going to get there as well.

All of that being said, here are my New Year's Resolutions for 2009 (broken up by category);

1)  Reduce my total project involvement, and spend more time on knitting.  How?  By saying "no," to myself.
2)  Become a reasonably adept spinner, by spinning the fiber currently in my possession, and keeping copious notes during the process.
3)  Finish all currently unfinished knitting projects, by not allowing myself to start a new knitting project for myself before the unfinished projects are done.  I will work on those with the least left to do first.
4)  Craft small gifts throughout the year, to avoid the Christmastime crafting mayhem.

Green Living:
1)  Learn more about homemade herbal medicines/remedies.  How?  I have been searching for good sources on this subject online for a while without much luck.  I will begin to search the local libraries and book stores for a good reference.
2)  Increase my household's sustainability by expanding the garden, and harvesting rain water for garden use.
3)  Produce less waste as a family, by reusing a much as possible, making more from scratch, and making sure that all recyclable products are recycled.

Personal Life:
1)  Better my health by walking to stores within 2 miles of my house at least 2/3 of the time.
2)  Find a routine that will keep the house clean, and allow me more time for my own pursuits.  This will probably involve a lot of outdoor playtime.

Does my list seem reasonable?  What about yours?  Do you have a plan of attack?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Extreme Knitting

Is it strange that I want to do this too?

1st Craft of the New Year - Ribbon Garland

When my husband and I first got married we had very few Christmas decorations, despite my inclination to decorate the house to the nines.  We also had little money to put into comercial decoriations, or hand made ones for that matter.  Our first Christmas our decorations consisted of a 1 foot tall tree, covered in small glass bulbs, and large bows I made from bargin basement ribbon.  I was appalled at the prices of the ribbon at the time, and decided I wouldn't waste any.

Fast forward several years, and nearly every scrap of Christmas ribbon that has passed under my nose has been saved in some way.  The same ribbon has been used in my family for years now, getting a bit shorter every year, as at least 8 inches of every piece has been added to my Christmas ribbon garland.

This year the garland grew to about 20 feet of recycled ribbon, each link 8 inches in circumfrence.  

How can you make your own Christmas ribbon garland?
1.  Ask your friends and family to give you the Christmas ribbon they would otherwise throw away.
2.  Cut the ribbon into 8 inch pieces.
3.  Sew the first "link" in the chain by matching the short ends of the ribbon (right sides together) and machine or hand sewing securely.
4.  The second and all subsequent links in the chain is made by inserting the 8 inch length of ribbon through the prevous link in the chain, wrapping the ribbon around the link so that the short ends of the ribbons match (right sides together), and machine or hand sew securely.
5.  Repeat step 4 until all ribbon lengths are incorrperated into the chain.

The chain lengths can be turned right side out as you work, or after all the links have been made.

The chain can be added to year after year, making a christmas timeline of sorts, showing change over time.  My chain is already showing differences over time, as well as tremendous growth.  I can only imagine what it will look like in a few more years time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Every one!  As of today my family is officially back to business as usual.  We shipped Mr. Incredible back to work this morning with no prospect of vacation in the near future.  While it is good to get back to our normal routine, I think we all enjoyed Mr. Incredible being around during the day.  He brings a playfullness to the atmosphere at home I sometimes forget to encourage.  I get too wrapped up with getting things done, and he encourages me to let things go and just have fun. 

At the moment my sink is overflowing with unwashed dishes, my bed is slowing sinking under the weight of unfolded laundry, the house looks as if it has been ransacked, and there is almost no food in the cupboards.  Last weeks idea of a through spring cleaning seems somewhat daunting at the moment, but the house is slowly transforming back into it's nearly clean state.  On the upside, with the exception of washing clothing, I throughly let go during the last week!

Perhaps I should resolve to figure out how to both get things done, and let go and have fun this year.